Rebuild the Icon Cache in Windows Vista and Windows 7

I recently purchased a new desktop computer to replace the 8 year old desktop I was previously using. The previous desktop had served me well for those 8 years, and had been running Windows XP without any problems. It had begun to show its age recently, however; so I bought myself a new one.

My new desktop included Windows 7 Professional installed (I didn’t want Vista), which I so far have enjoyed using. I did run into a minor problem recently where some of the icons for specific file types went missing. While this didn’t stop the application from loading, it was a little annoying as it was a bit difficult to tell two shortcuts apart. Luckily, it is easy to delete and rebuild the icon cache.

Rebuilding the Icon Cache

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I have had problems with the icon cache in the past, and have had to delete the file and have Windows rebuild it. If you are on Windows Vista or Windows 7, you can use the following steps to rebuild the cache for your icons.

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  1. Close down any open windows on your desktop.
  2. Next, open the Task Manager by pressing “CTRL+SHIFT+ESC” or right-clicking the taskbar and selecting “Task Manager”.
  3. First, we will close the explorer process so we can refresh the icon cache. Click the “Process” tab, and then right-click “explorer.exe” and select “End Process”. Your desktop and taskbar should disappear, don’t worry we will get them back.
  4. Once the explorer process has closed, from the Task Manager, click “File->New Task (Run)…”.
  5. Type “cmd.exe” and click the “OK” button.
  6. In the command window, type the following and then press ENTER:
    cd /d %userprofile%\AppData\Local
  7. Next, we will delete the icon cache file. To delete the file, enter this command followed by pressing ENTER:
    del IconCache.db /a
  8. Now we will close the command window by typing the following command and pressing ENTER:
    exit
  9. Back in the the Task Manager, click “File->New Task (Run)…”.
  10. Type “explorer.exe” to reload your desktop and taskbar. The icons should now be refreshed and displaying properly.
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About Paul Salmon

Paul Salmon is the founder of Technically Easy. He is a an experienced PC user, and enjoys solving computer-related problems that he encounters on a regular basis.

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5 Comments

  1. Ruggero
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Hi, I tried this steps because I’ve the Wi-Fi Status Icon stuked as not connected with no bands and the sun but it is connected. Unfortunally this method didn’t help. Any idea? Thx

  2. Random passerby
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Wow, thanks! I’ve been wondering how to do this for a long time without constantly logging off / logging on. It never occurred to me to do a simple Google search, hah. Yet there this site was, on the very first page. :)

    • Posted June 1, 2011 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      I have had to rebuild my icons in previous versions of Windows as well, so I decided to look up, and publish how to rebuild the cache for Windows 7 as well.

  3. Posted May 9, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Windows Vista is good but it can hog your CPU and Memory.*”-

  4. Posted March 1, 2010 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    Oh I am so into this info…I recently ordered a new laptop that is suppose to come equipped with windows7…in saying that…I can use all of the tips and trade secrests that I can get.

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